“British Values Day”

Oh dear. I’ve just heard Ruth Kelly on the Today Programme, which is even more effective at making me want to get out of bed than the wretched Thought for the Day. She was wittering about British Values, and thinks they should have their own Day.

But I can’t decide whether it should be held each year on 5 November, in an attempt to reinvigorate national traditions of anti-Catholic bigotry — or whether a more appropriate way of celebrating British Values would be to have British Values Day on any other day of the year, and then for us to ignore it?

Stoa-readers! How would you like to celebrate British Values? (I’ve already had “throwing up in the street and having sex with someone inappropriate” suggested to me.) And on which day of the year?

16 Comments


  1. February 29th?

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 9:17 am

  2. Yes — the fact that it only comes every four years would remind us of the four constituent parts of this great United Kingdom of ours. And given how much their respective inhabitants dislike one another, once every four years is probably about as much enforced bonhomie as we could cope with. So it’s multiply appropriate.

    I’m toying with introducing the slogan, “At the Virtual Stoa, Every Day is British Values Day” to the blog’s masthead (if blogs have mastheads), but perhaps I shall restrain myself.

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 9:24 am

  3. Jamie weighs in.

    Also Dave’s Part.

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 11:44 am

  4. careful study of the newspapers over the last couple of weeks has led me to the conclusion that the very essence of Britishness is selective education. Therefore, I suggest that on “British Values Day”, we should all take an exam, the results of which would determine our social status for the next year.

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 12:20 pm

  5. This is pretty much the Government’s view with its citizenship tests for immigrants, isn’t it? So maybe the tests could be administered on British Values Day (or BVD).

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 1:19 pm

  6. To a foreigner like me the idea of a BVD looks wildly un-English — and it’s probably not Scotch, Welsh or Irish either. Has irony really been reduced to camp in the quadrangles?

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 4:00 pm

  7. Did she mean just once a year? Why not replacing (say) Tuesday? Then our week would go Sunday, Monday, British Values Day, Wednesday, etc…

    Quote | Posted 5 June, 2007, 8:47 pm

  8. Shouldn’t British Values Day start off as a well-loved if rather dull public holiday, then after about 60 years suffer a huge slump in its popularity, forcing a rebranding exercise as “BVD”, prompting angry letters in the Telegraph, but failing to halt the slide. A few years later it would be rebranded as “Moresagia”, with a new logo likened to a cartoon character performing a sexual act. Finally, unloved and untaken, it would be bought by “Independence Day”, a popular and successful American holiday, and renamed “British Independence Day”.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 7:06 am

  9. “forcing a rebranding exercise as ‘BVD’, prompting angry letters in the Telegraph, but failing to halt the slide.”

    …whereupon it’s rebranded ‘bvd’ or ‘b:VD’ and given a snazzy new logo. I believe £400,000 is the current going rate.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 8:00 am

  10. ‘Empire Day’ was 24 May, so that seems to be the appropriate date.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 9:20 am

  11. B “VD” – aren’t we back to Chris’ point about having sex with inappropriate people?

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 3:40 pm

  12. Why not May 31st, CLR’s birthday (see post below). He embodied the British values worth having — left wing humanism combined with a poetic love of cricket.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 6:59 pm

  13. Sorrym, I got that wrong, the day he died. That’s a better idea.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 7:00 pm

  14. And thinking of sex with inappropriate people, venereal disease and national institutions, I’ve just heard the commentator on Radio Five Live after England’s 3-0 defeat of Estonia saying that “the fans are giving England the clap.” Please, God, no.

    Quote | Posted 6 June, 2007, 8:27 pm

  15. In Kate Fox’s Watching the English she comes up with quite a lot of plausible sounding British values, such as ‘not taking things too seriously’ and ‘being self-deprecating’, plus choosing the weather as the predominant form of grooming, phatic conversation and being committed to queuing. This could make for a very quirky National Day where we laughingly went to bus stops, queued up, whined about the rain and agreed that the fact that we had turned up was quite ridiculous. However, any enthusiastic publicity for such a day would be quite at odds with its spirit.

    Quote | Posted 11 June, 2007, 10:56 am

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